Offenses of Trump and the Republican Party

Is it possible to write a brief Syllabus of Errors of Donald Trump and the Trumpist Republican Pary? Hardly - yet what follows are a few of the lowliest of the lowlights, in three categories.

This list intends to focus on root causes rather than specific superficial manifestations. Most voters respond to issues like medical care, economics, and the virus - which are symptoms of the deeper dysfunctions. Some other voters are simply angry and destructive and want a target to vent a lifetime of humiliation, and want validation to attack it.

In the 2020 election, most voters have already decided on either a straight Democratic ticket or a straight Republican ticket, no matter what. But perhaps what follows will be helpful for those few who are undecided about whether to vote or for whom to vote.

Offenses of Trump against American Democracy

The fundamental offense of Donald Trump against America is his rejection and active assault on the Enlightenment ideals of America's founders.

He brings tears to their eyes!

Offenses of Trump against the Republican Party

Donald Trump has perverted the Republican Party in a variety of ways -

Offenses of the Republican Party against American Democracy

The Republican party untethered itself from radical change in 1877 with the Corrupt Bargain, except for a brief period of Theodore Roosevelt's trust-busting. But it did not fully embrace feudalism until it adopted the Southern Strategy in the 1960's.

Feudalism as practiced in the South from 1619 was based on a small hereditary nobility of landowners and two classes of serfs, free whites and slave blacks. The key to minority rule at that time was to keep the serfs struggling with each other to prevent them from uniting against the nobility.

Although it's tempting to blame many of the modern Republican Party's lapses on Trump, its current course was set by Nixon, Newt Gingrich, and the Tea Party, then brought to full flowering by the Freedom Caucus and Trump, united in recent years by racist hatred for and opposition to Obama and all his works, especially the ACA.

So the modern Republican Party has come full circle back to 1619 by aspiring to and often achieving minority rule based on several principles:

The modern Republican Party does not even try to build a persistent national majority, because it can still win presidential elections by exploiting the rural bias of the Electoral College, and can still control the Senate by winning in a majority of rural states with a minority of population, and by filibuster when a minority in the Senate.

With minority rule firmly in place,

The Republican Party could mount a sincere effort to widen its tent to achieve a persistent national majority. But Trumpists have purged the party organization of centrists in favor of a cult of personality. Preserving minority rule against a changing demographic will require increasingly authoritarian measures. It does not appear that Trump is competent and focused enough to really take charge, but by establishing a cult-of-personality ethos, he paves the way for his more able successor. Also paving the way is William Barr, who is unapologetic about seeking an unaccountable reactionary Republican president - an emperor. While Barr pretends to support Trump now, his real target is Trump's more competent successor.

As for Republican senators - they silently support Trump and Barr, either from conviction or from fear of a Trump tweet igniting his base or his donors against them and provoking a primary challenge. Their silence, whether from cowardice or lack of principle, is their great offense.

If minority rule is lost, the national Republican Party can follow the example of the California Republican Party into irrelevance and oblivion, much like the Whig Party in 1856-1860 and the American Independent Party after Wallace.

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